Contador takes over Castilla y León lead with time trial win
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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Contador takes over Castilla y León lead with time trial win

by Bjorn Haake at 10:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Castilla y León

Alberto Contador blasted to a dominating time trial win in the penultimate stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y León. He was the only rider under 21 minutes on the  challenging 15km course. Janez Brajkovic was second, over half a minute slower.

Previous race leader Igor Antón was almost a minute down, but stayed in second overall, behind Contador. Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) lost 47 seconds to Brajkovic, but defended his third place overall against the RadioShack rider.

Contador said after the stage that "he had a very strong desire to do well and try to win the race." Clad in his red and yellow outfit of Spanish time trial champion, Contador went to business right away. At the intermediate check around halfway, he had already gained 20 seconds. Being 13 seconds behind in GC, he was already in the virtual race lead.

There was a simple reason why he showed such willpower. "This year I still haven't won a time trial and that was the main objective [today]. We worked and improved the time trial bike. We were able to achieve the good result because there was a notable difference [in bikes]."
Still, winning by such a margin - more than half a minute over 15km - was a surprise to the Spaniard. "I rode better than I had expected, because there is always a bit of doubt and this was a very tough time trial. It was suited to climbers like Mosquera or Igor Antón."

Beaten rivals happy

The latter was unable to keep the lead, but the Euskaltel-Euskadi team was happy nonetheless. "We achieved our goals," said directeur sportif Álvaro González de Galdeano. "After the victory yesterday, Igor did a great race this afternoon. He did a great time trial and is only 41 seconds behind Contador in the overall. We don't want to forget all the great work by the other riders, like Jonathan Castroviejo.

"Also, the team ended third in the teams classification," De Galdeano added.

Xacobeo Galicia  manager Álvaro Pino team was also quite satisfied. "Ezequiel confirmed his third place overall." Pino also pointed out the good ride by Gustavo César Veloso, who ended the day in fourth, 1'08 behind Contador. "Two riders in the top six is great. Contador's performance  was expected. The route suited him perfectly, with lots of changes in rhythm."

 Pino still wants to win the final stage on Sunday, but admitted they won't be the only ones. "If all stays the same, a podium with Contador, Antón and Ezequiel in Santiago de Compostela would be an excellent ending to the race," Pino said.

 Contador will stay attentive. "It will be a tough day, because there will be riders looking for the breaks and the team will have to work a lot, but I hope to spend the day without problems."

A win would lift Contador in the Castilla y León history book as the only three-time winner, after  2007 and 2008.

Tomorrow is the final stage from Samos to Santiago de Compostela over 171.6 kilometers.

Stage results

1. Alberto Contador (Astana) 20:30
2. Janez Brajkovic (Astana) 21:03
3. Igor Antón (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 21:24
4. Gustavo César Veloso (Xacobeo Galicia) 21:38
5. David Bernabeu (Barbot-Siper) 21:50
6. Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia)

General classification after stage 4

1. Alberto Contador (Astana)
2. Igor Antón (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 0'41
3. Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia)  1'20
4. Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack) 1'30
5. David Bernabeu (Barbot-Siper) 2'30


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